Hello, everyone! Welcome to our blog series: #CreativeQueens! Every few weeks we interview and feature an up and coming female content creator(s) in the video game and animation industries!
This week we interviewed Indie Game Developer and Creator of "Ova Magica", Claudia aka @ClaudiaTheDev!
Hi Claudia! Before we start can you tell us a bit about yourself and Ova Magica?
Hi to all readers:)! I'm Claudia, a female game developer from beautiful Bavaria in Germany and Ova Magica is where I put all my heart and soul! The game is a cute and colorful mix. You work on your farm, breed cute blobs that can help you with farming, and make new friends and love in Clover Town!
"If you like StardewValley, Slime Rancher, and Pokemon, then Ova Magica is the perfect game for you!"
How exactly did you get started in game development? Is it something you pursued professionally and academically or was it more of a passionate hobby that grew over time?
I love Stardew Valley to death and the story of Eric Barone, the developer has given me courage and inspired me to try to develop a game too!
In December 2017 I started to teach myself the Unity engine. After my regular full-time job, I first did tutorials pretty much every night for half a year. Although it is fair to say that I am a professional C# developer, so I had a big starting advantage!
After that I dared to try my own games but they were not really good...
Then at the end of 2018 I started Ova Magica and got hooked! I knew this is what I want to do full time!
"I put every free minute in 2019 and 2020 into the game and it is now no longer a hobby but a professional project with several team members and I do it full time!"
What was the inspiration behind “Ova Magica”? What was the spark that made you sit down and think “I’m going to make this game a reality”…?
Ova Magica is inspired by my childhood favorites like Harvest Moon and Pokemon. But it was new games like Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher that reignited the love and spark in me. Ova Magica started as a hobby and I just wanted to recreate favorite elements of those games in my own way. I also never intended to create something unique but to revive the feeling of my childhood and bring back things I love. In the end Ova Magica turned out to be a colorful mix and in the end my own take on this genres!
What does your workstation look like? What tools/software/game engines are essential to your creative process in game development?
"You actually don't need much at all to develop games. A slightly better laptop is all you need."
But I have to admit that my workspace is also the one I set up for the home office from my former job as a developer and so I'm a bit better equipped.
Especially important to me is my big desk, which my husband built for me as a gift. And without 2 monitors, I would not like to work anymore, they are just so handy for many things! My PC is a mid-range "gaming" PC, so not very expensive but also not crappy.
"The software I use the most is of course the game engine Unity, but I also often use Blender and Photoshop. For files and documents, I use the free tools from Google."
The Kickstarter for “Ova Magica” had an absolutely explosive response from the community! You passed your original stretch goal for the campaign within hours of launch. What advice would you be willing to share to other indie game developers preparing their own game campaigns?
I hope this doesn't sound discouraging, but I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression! Kickstarter is not an easy way to fund your project. I spent several months preparing the campaign full time and tried to build up a community as much as possible beforehand.
"And that's my advice! Don't launch too fast, prepare it carefully and collect followers beforehand."
Especially Twitter helped me and I am very active there. And unfortunately, with a small team, the development also almost stops during Kickstarter, because it is really a full-time job. Include this in your planning:)!
Are there any personal benchmarks/goals/dreams you have for “Ova Magica” in terms of perhaps a sequel game in the future, other adaptions of the story, DLC content, player count, etc?
To be honest: No:)!
Everything is so overwhelming for me right now, especially the success on Kickstarter. My focus now is 100% on finishing the game and improving as much as possible in the beta.
After that we'll see, but for now I'm taking it one step at a time.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? On the flipside, what would you say is the most challenging?
Before Kickstarter, the best part was definitely the creation process. You bring things to life in your game and create something of your own. But for me, Kickstarter showed me that this feeling of people liking what you make and wanting to play it is really breathtaking! It's like a dream!
What is definitely challenging is working on the game every day, there are a lot of great tasks but as with any job also tedious ones.
"Starting a game is one thing, finishing it is another."
The most helpful thing for my "bad" days is my special TODO - list which contains many but very small tasks. I then work off as many as possible and so I am still productive and get a feeling of success.
What advice would you give to someone who dreams of creating their own video game but doesn’t know where to start?
For me, the Unity engine is a dream maker! I can only recommend everyone to try it out. Unity has a lot of tutorials for beginners, even if you don't know how to program. And the best thing is, it's all free until you make more than 100k revenue per year.
"This may sound like a bad commercial, but Unity has allowed me to make my dream come true and I'm happy to recommend it!"
What are some of your favorite games that you would say have inspired you the most to pursue indie game development as a career?
As a kid, without knowing it, I especially enjoyed games from Japan, like Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Grandia, Final Fantasy, Azure Dreams, Jade Cocoon and many more. I also always liked colorful and happy worlds and was into Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. Those memories influenced me a lot. But it was actually newer games like Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher that made me want to make a game myself!
What are your future plans in relation to creating games? Is game development something you could you see yourself doing for the rest of your life or are there different fields or other similar industries, you also want to expand into?
I know I want to make a lot more games even if the focus is 100% on Ova Magica now. I really hope that it will be successful enough for me to continue making games.
"I worked a few years before in another job and I have never been so happy with what I do as I am now as a game developer."
As a creator, it’s common to hear how your work impacts others, but this time, I’d like to know how the creation of “Ova Magica” has impacted you and what has it brought to your life? What does being an “indie game developer” mean to you?
It is the first time that I work on MY own project and not "only" for visions of others.
This gives me a very special feeling and also fills me with pride. At first, I was unsure if it would work, but the success on Kickstarter is just incredible!
"I am just insanely happy and thankful for all the people who believe in Ova Magica!"
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